Retirement Industry People Moves

Transamerica announces hire and promotions; Mercer closes acquisition of Summit Strategies Group; FIA opens Wellesley office; and more.

Industry veteran Thomas Fleming has joined Transamerica as regional vice president for mid-market retirement plans, Kim Vu was promoted to regional vice president for mid-market retirement plans and Karoleen Francis as TPA vice president. 

Fleming will support financial professionals working with mid-market retirement plans and will cover the territory of Delaware and Southern New Jersey. He brings more than 18 years of experience in retirement plans and pensions. Fleming holds a bachelor’s from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. He will report to Tim Lastivka, Transamerica division sales manager for the northeast region of retirement plan distribution. 

Vu will support financial professionals in California in the areas of Orange County and the Inland Empire. Vu is an accredited pension administrator through the National Institute of Pension Administrators and holds a bachelor’s from Chapman University. She will report to Tom Briggs, Transamerica division sales manager for the western region of retirement plan distribution. 

Francis is assuming the role previously held by Vu. Francis began her career at Transamerica in 2000 and has a wide range of experience with supporting retirement plans. She will help third party administrators in the company’s western region. Francis holds a bachelor’s from the University of Southern California. She will report to Deb Rubin, Transamerica vice president and director of TPA Services and Special Markets. 

“Transamerica continues to hire the brightest wholesalers in the industry to support the needs of financial advisers, third party administrators, and their retirement plan clients. I am very excited to have Tom Fleming join our team,” says Joe Boan, SVP, executive director, Workplace and Individual Distribution for Transamerica. “It is wonderful when we promote from within our strong internal teams. I am especially happy to see successful Transamerica veterans, both Kim Vu and Karoleen Francis, promoted to new positions.” 

Newport Group acquires Kidder Benefit Consultants

Kidder Benefits Consultants, Inc. (KBC) and Newport Group, Inc. (Newport Group) have entered into an agreement in which the shareholders of KBC will sell their stock to Newport Group.

This transaction is anticipated to close before the end of the year, subject to customary closing conditions. At that time, KBC—along with Kidder-Lane Actuarial Services, LLC (KL)—will become subsidiaries of Newport Group. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“The Kidder entities have carved a niche in the retirement plan industry,” says Keith Gredys, KBC president and chief executive officer. “In Newport Group, we have found a partner that is aligned with how we serve our clients, and we are excited for the opportunities this transaction will provide to our clients and employees.

“Newport approached us in June with a compelling story,” Gredys tells PLANADVISER. “They are basically a much larger version of Kidder Benefits, as their view on how to provide quality client experience in addition to employee empowerment is very similar to ours. They made a very generous offer for the third party administration and actuarial firm, and we accepted.”

Following the transaction, Gredys will lead Kidder Advisers, which is not part of the sale. Kidder Advisers and Newport Group will work closely on servicing existing clients and developing new relationships.

Mercer closes acquisition of Summit Strategies Group

Mercer has completed its acquisition of Summit Strategies Group (Summit), on November 15.

“We are pleased to announce the closing of this transaction, as we believe Summit’s high-touch client service experience coupled with Mercer’s global investment capabilities and world-class research will benefit our collective clients,” says Rich Nuzum, president of Mercer’s global wealth business. “We value client relationships and we are committed to maintaining the level and quality of service that Summit has always delivered. Clients will continue to work with their existing consulting team while also accessing Mercer’s global breadth and resources.”

In August, Mercer announced it had signed definitive agreements to acquire Summit as well as the investment consulting, alternatives consulting and wealth management operations of Pavilion Financial Corporation. The close of the Pavilion acquisition is expected during Q4 2018.

“What I appreciate most about this combination are the broad, tangible resources we will bring to clients. The breadth and depth of the on-line manager research generated daily by 150 dedicated research professionals is staggering. I have a client that wants to pursue a fund of one structure to reduce the administrative burden of their investment program. At Summit, we would have figured out how to do this, but Mercer’s already done it multiple times and has all of the necessary steps lined out.” says Steve Holmes, principal and founder, Summit. “Mercer is an esteemed organization with real resources that provide demonstrable benefits to clients. We’ve created a formidable, positive option for the marketplace.”

FIA opens Wellesley office

Fiduciary Investment Advisors, LLC (FIA), has opened a new office in the Wellesley Office Park. The office space will be home to several FIA consultants who are based in the Boston region.

“We have experienced growth in all areas of our business including endowments and foundations, corporate defined benefit plans and 401(k) plans, 403(b) and government retirement plans, as well as private wealth. We are excited to take on more space and grow our headcount in the Boston market and felt that the Wellesley Office Park was a perfect location for our employees,” says Michael Goss, EVP.

“Boston, and Massachusetts in general, are a huge part of the growth story for the firm. We have seen demand for our services from all industries, especially life sciences businesses, law firms, colleges and universities, and technology companies. We look forward to continuing to expand and add more clients in the region, and this space gives us the opportunity to facilitate that growth,” says Vincent Smith, partner, Boston Region.